The X-Rated Series

If someone gave you, personally, the power to do anything you willed to do to eliminate irresponsible, selfish sexual behavior in our culture, what would you do?

"I would teach every person that sexual intercourse outside of marriage is wrong. This problem exists because of ignorance!" Do some Christians commit adultery? Have they been taught it is wrong?

"I would pass a law that made it a crime to have sexual intercourse outside of marriage." Check the law code of any state. Are the laws "on the book" that make adultery a crime? Has there ever been a time when people did not commit adultery?

"I would put the fear of hell in every adult! I would made them aware that the man or woman who has sexual intercourse outside of marriage is going to hell!" Has the fear of hell eliminated adultery among Christians? Listen to a significant irony. Among Christians, the use of pornography and prostitutes tends to increase among those who wage war against sexual sin by the threat of hell.

We will not eliminate sexual sin by declaring that it is evil. We will not eliminate sexual sin by passing laws. We will not eliminate sexual sin by using the threat of hell. Any one of those or any combination of those are inadequate. We have used all three, and look at the reality of where we are.

  1. People who love and respect people do not engage in irresponsible sexual intercourse that makes no commitment, or limited commitment, or short term commitment.
    1. That ancient truth is present reality; it has always been true.
      1. Let me show you that truth plainly and clearly in the Bible.
      2. God brought Israel out of the slavery of Egypt and gave them laws in the wilderness to do three things:
        1. Their laws were designed to change their concepts of God.
        2. Their laws were designed to change their behavior.
        3. Their laws were designed to change the way they treated people.
        4. All three objectives were inseparably linked.
      3. The core of those laws was the ten commandments, and the basic objective of the ten commandments was to do those three things.
        1. In the ten commandments are these two laws:
          1. "You shall not commit adultery" [Exodus 20:14].
          2. "You shall not covet your neighbor's house, wife, servants, livestock, or possessions" [Exodus 20:17].
        2. The objective of "Do not commit adultery" was to change their behavior.
        3. The objective of "Do not covert your neighbor's wife" was to change the way you treated each other; respecting your neighbor definitely changed the way you treated him and his wife.
      4. What are the two greatest commandments God ever gave? According to our Lord Jesus Christ they are [Matthew 22:34-40]
        1. Number 1: You shall love God with all your being.
        2. Number 2: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
        3. He further said that the entire law and the prophets [in our words "the whole word of God"] depends on these two commands.
      5. What is the word that Jesus used for "love" and what does it mean?
        1. The word Jesus used for love in both commands was agapaseis, a form of agapao.
        2. It basically means to seek the highest good of the other person.
          1. Seeking their highest good is not determined by your or their desires.
          2. Seeking the highest good is determined by what is in their present, future, and eternal best interests.
      6. Then what do those two commands mean?
        1. The person who belongs to God will seek God's highest good with all of his or her being.
        2. The person who belongs to God will seek another person's highest good with the same devotion that he or she seeks his or her own highest good.
      7. Why do you feel certain about your conclusion? Because that was Paul's understanding.
        Romans 13:8-10 He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (The New American Standard Bible, 1995 Update, La Habra, California: The Lockman Foundation, 1996.)
    2. When a person has sexual intercourse with another person outside the responsibility and commitment of healthy marriage, that act is not an act of love.
      1. You are not seeking God's highest good.
      2. Your are not seeking your own highest good.
      3. You are not seeking the other person's highest good.
      4. You seek pleasure and satisfaction, not the highest good.
      5. One of the first things that responsible parents teach their children is this: your behavior is not determined by desires or pleasure.
    3. We will not move sexual perceptions in the church or in Christian individuals in a positive direction until the church as a whole and Christians as individuals understand this basic truth: people who belong to God respect God and respect people.
      1. We must understand that one of the greatest ways to show disrespect to God and to a person is to engage in irresponsible, uncommitted sexual intercourse with the primary objective of experiencing personal pleasure.
        1. Should sexual intercourse be pleasurable? Absolutely.
        2. Did God intend for sexual intercourse to be a powerful means of bonding that advanced companionship and commitment? Yes.
        3. By God's design and intent, where did He want that to occur? Within a responsible, committed, healthy marriage.
      2. We will not change what is happening among Christians, and we will not be a constructive influence on our culture until we understand that sexual intercourse outside of marriage is one of an expression of disrespect.

  2. How did our culture and Christians get into the sexual mess of today?
    1. Be patient for a few minutes, and really concentrate as you follow me.
      1. The depression had a horrible impact on the American home.
        1. Physical necessity required men to go wherever they needed to go in the effort to find work.
        2. That was a time of horrible poverty.
        3. It had a crippling effect on family relationships.
        4. It made it necessary for many children to grow up in homes focused on survival instead of focused on nurturing family bonds of relationship.
      2. World War II intensified the problem.
        1. Husbands and sons went to war.
        2. They were involved in incredible horrors and inhumane acts.
        3. They returned emotionally and psychologically distressed and crippled just like people do today, and those experiences produced chronic depression and post-traumatic stress.
        4. The end of that war brought a marriage rate that soared to one of the highest peaks in this nation's history.
        5. A few years later, we experienced our first major problem with divorce.
      3. The effects of the depression, World War II, the Korean conflict, and Viet Nam destabilized a lot of homes, deteriorated a lot of family relationships, and produced a lot of children who became adults with poor relationship skills.
    2. Add another trend that began in the 1960s and still continues.
      1. In the 1960s our college students and young adults began a revolt against the home and family as they experienced it.
        1. They resented and rejected the family that projected an outside facade of goodness and existed in the reality of bad relationships.
        2. They practiced "free love" which meant be sexually active when you want to with anyone you want to.
      2. The role of the woman as homemaker began to change.
        1. Bad marriage relationships did not encourage her to stay at the home.
        2. Poor home relationships gave her too little fulfillment to stay there.
      3. Then we became an affluent society.
        1. We wanted more and more.
        2. We wanted a better living standard.
        3. Since many homes had bad relationships and poor relationship skills, we believed that marriage and the home would not suffer by wives entering the job market.
        4. When your family experiences were rooted in poor relationships, and when you think that is the way it should be, why choose a lifestyle that locks you into those poor relationships?
    3. I fully understand that this is an oversimplification that does not take into account some significant factors.
      1. But I want you to see something.
        1. I want you to see that forces began to work in our society well before 1930 to weaken family relationships and to cripple relationship skills.
        2. I want you to understand that the number one place a person should learn proper perspectives on respect, proper perspectives on love, proper perspectives on communication, and proper perspective on sex, is within the relationships of a healthy home.
        3. I want you to understand that what is happening sexually in our culture and among Christians is directly related to the deterioration of relationships in the home and the loss of relationship skills in the individual.
      2. Our society systematically has been creating this problem for over 70 years.
        1. It will not be improved by imposing a set of expectations, even if they come from God.
        2. It will not be improved by imposing a set of laws, no matter how moral or right they are.
        3. It will not be improved by a congregation, a set of congregations, or an alliance of churches imposing a system of discipline and consequences.
    4. We constructively will address this problem God's way: we must train Christians to respect people if we hope to alter sexual perspectives.
      1. The solution begins by teaching people how to love and respect within the relationships of a healthy home.
      2. That happens one person at a time.
      3. That happens one family at a time.
      4. If we think that we can change sexual perspectives only by teaching a set of doctrinal truths, we are deceiving ourselves.
      5. When we teach people how to build and live in godly relationships, we will begin to address the problem.
    5. I share an observation that you can see for yourself.
      1. Where there is divorce, sexual perspectives and sexual conduct deteriorates.
      2. Where there is a hostile home, sexual perspectives and sexual conduct deteriorates.
      3. Where there is a seriously dysfunctional home, sexual perspectives and sexual conduct deteriorate.
      4. Why? The answer is simple: those situations do not teach people how to love and respect people.
      5. When those things happen, we pass the problem on to the next generation.

"Does it scare you to talk about these things?" Yes. "Why?" Because I came from that kind of background. Because there is divorce in my family. Because I know how culture attacks the Christian, and I know that I am not immune to that attack.

Does it scare you to realize these things?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 9 January 2000
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